How to embed your school's vision
Understand how you can communicate your school's vision to stakeholders and how to embed the vision into the work of your governing board.
Make sure your vision statement still reflects your school's aspirations
Read our article on developing a vision and strategy, which promotes an inclusive culture to help you take your first steps. If you've already reviewed your vision, move on to the section below.
Keep your vision at the centre of all strategic decisions
To embed your school's vision into everything it does, think of it like a pyramid. At the top is your vision statement, underneath that is your long-term strategic plan (3 to 5 years) and underneath that is your school development plan (SDP). Your SDP needs to feed into your strategic plan and your strategic plan needs to feed into your vision statement.
When developing or reviewing your strategic plan, you'll want to make sure it breaks down how you're going to achieve your school's vision.
To do this, you'll need to check each strategic priority ties in with your vision statement.
- If you have a longer vision statement, you could chunk it down into separate components and think about where each priority fits in
- If your statement is more general, ask the questions: what will happen if we don't prioritise this? What will happen if we do? This will help you think through what's truly important to your school
When reviewing your school's SDP, you can follow a similar approach, however you'll need to question how each objective is going to help you achieve your strategic plan.
Make sure your vision statement is visible to your school community
Consider how your school can keep your vision statement front and centre of your school community. Your school could:
- Feed it into external communications, for example on your school's:
- School website
- Social media page
- Job descriptions
- Staff handbook
- Create a display board of your vision at the front of your school, or in the reception area so visitors instantly understand what your school stands for
Use events and meetings to remind the community of your vision
School leaders can play a part in bringing your vision to life by regularly communicating what the school is doing and how it is helping to achieve the overall vision. This will help get your community on-board and allow them to see what a written statement looks like in practice.
They could do this at:
- Parent events or letters sent home - for example, when communicating a change in policy, explain how this change is contributing to achieving the school's vision
- Staff meetings at the start of the year or term
- School council meetings
Bill Dennison is a national leader of governance. He is currently chair of governors of a large secondary school and a governor of a large sponsor-led secondary academy. He was previously head of the education department at a Russell Group university.
Harry James is a national leader of governance. He is currently chair of governors of a primary school in London, and is part of the steering group for an academic research project looking at school accountability and stakeholder education.
David Roche is a former headteacher currently working as an education consultant involved in governor training and supporting schools towards academy status.
Peter Slough is an education consultant. He has experience of headship at a large secondary school in the west Midlands.
Audrey Pantelis is the founder and director of Elevation Coaching and Consulting, and works with schools and organisations in developing and implementing positive, systemic improvement programmes. Her career in mainstream and special educational needs spans over 30 years, including as the founding head of a free special school in north-west London.
Pete Crockett is a retired special school headteacher who, prior to that, worked as a senior leader and SENCO in mainstream education. He has extensive governor experience, having served on governing boards as a staff, headteacher and co-opted governor. He has particular expertise in SEND, school leadership support and governance.